Post-storm, Alna museum hosts out-of-state utility, tree crews

Posted:  Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 11:30am

The usual out-of-state visitors at Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in Alna come for a train ride or to volunteer, but on Thursday morning, Nov. 2, Ohio and New York crews helping put local lights back on filled the lot at the Cross Road nonprofit.

The white trucks, from pickups to other ones carrying wooden poles, were from Bowlin Energy of Ohio and Lewis Tree Service of New York. Zach Hill of Rochester, New York had never been to Maine. “It’s beautiful. It reminds me of Cape Cod, in some ways,” Hill said.

Fellow Lewis Tree Service worker David Crittenden was looking forward to classic Maine fare: “I can’t wait to get some seafood in my belly,” he said before they headed back on the road to sites of destruction from the Oct. 29 and 30 storm. The two and those interviewed from Bowlin said they were glad to be able to help Maine get its power back.

Longtime museum volunteer Stewart Rhine said he was at the fire station Wednesday night, Nov. 1 when he heard the contractors and a Central Maine Power liaison needed a spot to meet. “I said, ‘Follow me.’”

The museum is part of the community and was glad to help, Rhine said. He added, he kidded to the crews that, if they would get power back on at the museum, he could open the restrooms to them.

Third Selectman Doug Baston said he was driving home Nov. 1 when he pulled off at the substation on Route 218 to take a call. “Then I looked up and there were (power) trucks as far as the eye could see, waiting for me to get out of the way.”

He introduced himself to the crews and provided the companies with contact information for town emergency officials including Alna Emergency Management Agency Director Roger Whitney, who was doing an incredible job, Baston added in an interview at the fire station.

Parking at the museum was saving the crews hours in travel time, Baston said.

Later in the morning, CMP announced in a press release, more than 2,300 people including crews from multiple states were working on storm recovery. The count of customers out was 120,000, down from 404,000 on Monday, the release stated.